The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) will lift campfire and smoking restrictions effective 8 a.m. Sept. 11, 2020, due to widespread moisture across the forest and decreasing fire danger.
The forest implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions on Aug. 26 to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfire during consistent drought conditions, historically low fuel moisture levels and severe fire weather conditions.
Stage 1 fire restrictions also helped firefighting resources focus efforts on the 4,010-acre Medio Fire and other wildfire starts on the forest, including the 158-acre Caja Fire on the Caja del Rio Plateau. The SFNF closure order for the Medio Fire is still in place to protect public health and safety by keeping members of the public out of the burned area.
Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to lift fire restrictions, including current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources. Fire danger on the SFNF is currently posted as moderate.
“We issued 45 citations for illegal campfires and recorded 39 abandoned campfires during the two weeks the forest was under Stage 1 fire restrictions. Fortunately, none of those incidents escalated into a wildfire,” Acting Forest Supervisor Debbie Cress said. “With warmer, drier conditions coming this weekend, we are expecting to see a number of campers and hikers on the national forest. Please stay safe and recreate responsibly.”
Although Stage I restrictions on campfires and smoking will be lifted, forest managers urge visitors to continue to use caution around campfires and other potential ignition sources by followingcampfire safety procedures. Violators of regulations that prohibit abandoning a campfire are subject to a fine and/or imprisonment. If an abandoned campfire causes a wildfire, violators can also be held responsible for fire suppression costs.